Obama declares Venezuela a national security threat

US President Barack Obama has issued an executive order declaring Venezuela a national security threat, and slapped sanctions on seven officials.

“Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of US financial systems,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement on Monday.

“We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents. Venezuela’s problems cannot be solved by criminalising dissent,” he added.

Venezuela’s foreign minister said it will respond shortly to the new US moves.

“We will soon make public Venezuela’s response to these declarations,” Delcy Rodriguez told reporters, declining to give further details.

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